Bretagne – Séché Environnement, Cofidis, IAM Cycling and NetApp
Cofidis, IAM Cycling, Bretagne-Séché Environnement and NetApp-Endura have been handed wildcard invitations to the 2014 Tour de France, race organisers ASO announced on Tuesday. The four Pro Continental teams join the 18 WorldTour squads in the race, which gets underway in Leeds on July 5.
ASO also unveiled its wildcard invitations to Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné. IAM Cycling and Cofidis have been invited to both races, while Bretagne-Séché will partake in Paris-Nice only and NetApp-Endura will take part only in the Dauphiné.
Cofidis has been an ever-present at the Tour de France since its foundation in 1997, but IAM Cycling, Bretagne-Séché and NetApp-Endura are all first-time participants in the Tour.
IAM Cycling was disappointed to miss out on a wildcard berth in their inaugural season in 2013 but the acquisition of Sylvain Chavanel from Omega Pharma-QuickStep during the off-season meant that an invitation for this year was all but a formality.
Given ASO’s implicit policy of promoting French teams, Europcar’s elevation to WorldTour level this year cleared a path for Bretagne-Séché’s first Tour invitation. The Breton-based squad, which features Brice and Romain Feillu, had already featured in a number of ASO races in recent years.
NetApp-Endura has featured at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España in the past two seasons, but 2014 will mark the German outfits Tour de France debut. Their chances of selection were helped greatly by the strong showing of Leopold Koenig at last year’s Vuelta, as the Czech won a stage and finished 9th overall.
There was disappointment for MTN-Qhubeka, however, as the team missed out in its bid for a debut grand tour ride, while there is no place either for the Caja Rural team of Luis Leon Sanchez.
Tour de France 2014:
AG2R La Mondiale Astana Pro Team Belkin Pro Cycling Team BMC Racing Team Cannondale FDJ.fr Garmin Sharp Lampre-Merida Lotto Belisol Movistar Team Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team Orica – GreenEdge Team Europcar Team Giant – Shimano Team Katusha Team Sky Tinkoff Saxo Trek Factory Racing
In addition to these eighteen teams, the organisers have awarded the following wildcards:
Bretagne – Séché Environnement Cofidis, Solutions Crédits IAM Cycling
Critérium du Dauphiné
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits IAM Cycling Team NetApp – Endura
Tour de France
Bretagne – Séché Environnement Cofidis, Solutions Crédits IAM Cycling Team NetApp – Endura
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